Eltham South Electric Tramway

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Melbournesparks

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I saw nothing wrong with the closely following Trains. After all it is a Tramway. However I was not so sure about the Transport of the Giant Flamethrower! As fir the Chickens, well they are Chickens which just about says it all really.
JonD
It is a tramway, but operating large heavy rail trains under the same conditions as small electric trams was certainly... interesting. :p The giant flamethrower is a useful piece of overhead maintenance equipment!


A mildly warm spring day of 28 degrees has seen the return of a fixture of last summer, the dreaded heat buckle:





Operationally it hardly matters for the speeds we do here, but it does demonstrate effectively the high expansion factor of the aluminium rail.




The vegetation around bridge no. 3 is finally looking a bit more lush. I half seriously considered a plan for main line extension recently that would have seen this entire area annihilated, but thought better of it in the end. Sometimes not-perfect-but-still-good is fine too.




Another wooden overhead wire pole rotted through at the base. This was an important one, it has to hold the tension of the wires where they terminate for the removable section across the path.




Replaced with a new fiberglass and aluminium structure that should be much more durable and won't rot.




Ballarat 33 started out with an original Bachmann trolley pole, but bits have gradually been replaced until now the only original bit is the lower base. The Bachmann poles are not really suitable for continuous operation, eventually they go high resistance and don't conduct well. The brass replacement should be much more durable.
 
Melbournesparks

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The summer is really starting to make itself felt, especially for the less drought tolerant plants along the tramway. Regular watering is keeping it all fairly lush though, with plenty of tank water to go around. For now.



The Ballarat tram crosses bridge 3, surrounded by the lush vegetation. A year ago this was a barren wasteland!

Speaking of water, a relatively new rollingstock addition is this LGB tank wagon.



After being suitably fitted with some plumbing and nozzles, it drips water (and a little bit of biodegradable dishwashing detergent) on the rails to help clean off the squashed plant goo. Here it is on the track cleaning train, hauled by the ever reliable FO24. Soon it will get automatic couplings at both ends and maybe a paint job.



FO24 trundles back into the headshunt siding with the track cleaning train. The more effective cleaning that has resulted from the newly commissioned rollingstock has led to this duty being increasingly taken over by electric traction.




The Baldwin 2-4-2 is still a favorite for many practical purposes though, seen here at the depot late on a hot night.



It's hard to find a nicer night for tramway operations. Just as long as you lay down some major chemical warfare against the mozzies!
 
Melbournesparks

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Today was a significant day in the history of the tramway. After a very extended period of procrastination work began in earnest on the main line extension. Over the year and a half or so that the tramway has been operating a number of deficiencies in the original track layout have become apparent. The main one is that it's short, only about 18 meters. There's also only one crossing loop, requiring one tram to set back into the siding to cross. The expanding fleet has also outgrown the original two road depot.

A scheme was devised to rectify all of the above, including a new larger depot, second crossing loop and the main line extended to a somewhat more respectable 25 meters.



The old two road depot just about disappearing from view behind a gum tree that has popped up in the last two weeks. This will become the site of the second crossing loop.




Despite being the cream of the tramway fleet the big RhB M car does a lot of 'real' work. With a screech and a shower of sparks it sets back into 1 road to retrieve the rollingstock there.




Waving the driver back into 2 road. Here we can see another of the problems with the old depot, very limited clearance! Standing on the wagon shunter's steps is not advised.



A last stop for photos on the viaduct curve before demolition. The new main line will continue straight to the right.




The swinging gate is also not long for this world, to be replaced with a new one just behind the photographer. This area will become the site of the new expanded depot, though about a ton of fill will have to be dumped here to level the site first!




Shortly after the last train the rails are cut and the old main line (formerly curving away to the left) is removed. The new alignment will be straight here.




The main line is gone. The rail and part of the original viaduct will be recycled in a different location.




Progress! This is the easiest section to construct, being straight and mostly elevated. I would have liked to have it closer to ground level, but it would have needed a huge amount of fill to level.




The RhB M car at the stop board at the end of day one. About four meters of new alignment constructed and track laid up to the first curve. This was the easy part though, the next section will require some significant earthworks. Stay tuned for further updates!
 
Beddhist

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I take it your track is not exposed to a lot of direct sunlight, but I want to ask: how do you handle the expansion of the alu rail? I'm finding major problems this year with warping track from the heat.
 
Melbournesparks

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I take it your track is not exposed to a lot of direct sunlight, but I want to ask: how do you handle the expansion of the alu rail? I'm finding major problems this year with warping track from the heat.
It's shaded part of the day by the trees, but it does get direct sun in the afternoon and it does expand. There's some pictures of the resulting heat buckle a few posts up. To try and mitigate the problem there is now an expansion joint in the middle of the long straight section:



I may ultimately change this section to a ballasted deck, then at least the rails have something to hold them in place a bit more securely. I haven't had any problems with the ground level aluminium rail, the dirt protects the rails from the worst of the heat.


Yesterday and today have been spent moving dirt for the earthworks, lots of it. Such is my dedication to accuracy that only historically correct tools like picks, shovels and wheelbarrows are used!
..
actually it's all I have, and the site is not accessible by machinery anyway. So there has been lots of manual labour.



This high embankment required a large amount of fill. The local soil is very poor quality, and even after heavy rain remains dry as dust only just under the surface. No chance of building a self supporting embankment with it, so the fill had to come from a bit further away. The next best was a nearby creek (really more of a glorified drainage ditch) under a large willow tree. Willow trees are a noxious weed, choking waterways with their matted roots and sucking up valuable water, but the roots hold the soil together well so even this steeply sloped embankment is stable.



This unpromising looking expanse of weeds will be the site of the new depot, after about 20 barrow loads of fill.



The tramway occupies a multi use space, so I don't want it to dominate the environment too much. These rocks will hopefully provide a more natural looking divide than a simple retaining wall, allowing the tramway to blend into the surrounding area. Plus they give a nicer foreground for photos.



I think this area will need about 20 wheelbarrow loads to bring it up to level, still about 8 more to go! The wet clay fill will soon dry and harden like concrete, providing a stable foundation for the track.

Still more dirt moving to go tomorrow (yay) but the end is in sight. Then we can look at some track laying.
 
dunnyrail

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Like serious engineering. Shows dedication to the cause.
JonD
 
Melbournesparks

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Like serious engineering. Shows dedication to the cause.
JonD
A lot of it is dedication to the cause of being a cheaparse, especially when it comes to track construction. :p

This is approximately the proposed track layout:



A total of four new sets of points will need to be constructed for the new crossing loop and new depot.



The original depot access tracks will be recycled as part of the new crossing loop. Here it is after a bit of a clean up with the pressure washer, good chance to inspect how durable the original construction was. Luckily it seems to have survived buried in the ground for a year and a half pretty well, the treated pine base shows now apparent decay. The galvanized screws have started to corrode though, I'll replace all the ones that carry electrical connections with stainless steel.



The crossing loop will be constructed as a prefabricated unit on another big treated pine plank. It looks ugly as butts, but no one will see it once it's buried in the ground!


.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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Nothing wrong with being a cheaparse, much of my line was built using recycled Bricks Blocks and 8x2 Timber from my Builder friend next door.
JonD
 
trammayo

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A lot of it is dedication to the cause of being a cheaparse, especially when it comes to track construction. :p

This is approximately the proposed track layout:



A total of four new sets of points will need to be constructed for the new crossing loop and new depot.



The original depot access tracks will be recycled as part of the new crossing loop. Here it is after a bit of a clean up with the pressure washer, good chance to inspect how durable the original construction was. Luckily it seems to have survived buried in the ground for a year and a half pretty well, the treated pine base shows now apparent decay. The galvanized screws have started to corrode though, I'll replace all the ones that carry electrical connections with stainless steel.



The crossing loop will be constructed as a prefabricated unit on another big treated pine plank. It looks ugly as butts, but no one will see it once it's buried in the ground!


.
Nice construction of the depot fan points. Like how the syllable 'pars' (as in parsimony) fits in:D. My kind of outlook!
 
dunnyrail

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Nice construction of the depot fan points. Like how the syllable 'pars' (as in parsimony) fits in:D. My kind of outlook!
Yes he is doing a superb job. Just makes you wish you lived closer to visit, I do find this ane of those must see lines.
JonD
 
Beddhist

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I'm in awe of these points. Can we get a closer look, please? How did you go about building them?
 
Melbournesparks

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Yes he is doing a superb job. Just makes you wish you lived closer to visit, I do find this ane of those must see lines.
JonD
You're always welcome to visit if you're in this part of the world!

I'm in awe of these points. Can we get a closer look, please? How did you go about building them?
They look more complicated than they are, they're just a lot of bits of aluminum screwed to a bit of treated pine. It's true that some bits have to screwed on certain distances away from each other, but you only really need a wheelset and a spare sleeper to do all the measuring required. No accurate cutting or drilling is needed. Now is a good time for a closer look before it gets buried in the ground again.





The tramway style single bladed points are simple and easy to make. One advantage of this design is that it's harder for crud to get jammed between the blades compared to a conventional set of points, and easier to pick it out when it does.
 
Beddhist

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Thanks for posting the pics. If the point where two rails cross in a "normal" turnout is called a frog, then the bigger piece where all 3 tracks cross must be a toad - or is it a newt?
 
Melbournesparks

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There's been a few construction delays on the overhead on the extension, so service is still by steam traction for now:



The steam tram motor and trailer depart the crossing loop on a warm afternoon. Don't be fooled by the lush vegetation, it depends entirely on a limited supply of tank water at this time of year.




There hasn't been a huge amount of electric operation lately, but the big RhB motor car ran a couple of trips this afternoon to keep the wires clean.



The cutting between bridge 1 and the tunnel is getting very overgrown, with the track just about vanishing from view.



Stop for photos just before bridge 1 on the return trip.



The rotary scrubber car recently returned to service after a clean, lubrication, new set of scrubbing wheels and roller bearings on all axles.



A wild strawberry appears! An emergency stop was made to collect it, it wouldn't have lasted long with the many predators around here.



Suspect no.1, the resident velociraptors. Destroyers of many garden plants.



Suspect no.2, the resident king parrots. Seen here keeping watch while his girlfriend decimates the neighbors' tomatoes.
 
dunnyrail

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Love the King Parrots, have a friend who would kill to see them in the wild, but probably kill them if they attacked her plants! We have our own domestic ones these days, mostly in London but I have seen a couple here in the nits. Parakeets escapees from somewhere.


Enjoying your construction imensly.

JonD
 
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mike

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Wow.. what a journey
 
Melbournesparks

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Love the King Parrots, have a friend who would kill to see them in the wild, but probably kill them if they attacked her plants! We have our own domestic ones these days, mostly in London but I have seen a couple here in the nits. Parakeets escapees from somewhere.


Enjoying your construction imensly.

JonD
That's interesting, I had no idea there were parrots in the UK, introduced or otherwise!

We get about 10 different species of parrots and cockatoos here in outer suburban Melbourne. The king parrots are at the extreme edge of their range, they're normally birds of the cool temperate rainforest on the edge of the city. The changing climate has seen both rainforest and desert birds become increasingly common in the city over the past few years though.

The gang gang cockatoos are an ever present local, with their distinctive squeaky door screeching.



The rainbow lorikeets can be found in large and noisy groups anywhere there's fruit trees and gardens too!



It so happens that if you spend a lot of time taking photos of trains (big ones, or little ones in the garden!) you end up with a lot of bird pictures too. Apologies everyone who came here for tramway stuff, your regular programming now resumes...
 
PhilP

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Any 'Norwegian Blue's' get that far?

Apparently they have very nice plumage!
:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:
 
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